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Mario Miranda - Book

Mario Miranda book

Over 2000 sketches, Illustration and cartoons by the Artist Mario Miranda in one place.


Museum Houses of Goa

Museum Houses of Goa

"Houses of Goa", a unique museum by reputed architect Gerard da Cunha, encapsulates for posterity the phenomenal outcome of the amalgamation of eastern and western architectural styles.


FIVE NEW BOOKS
BY MARIO MIRANDA

Cartoon Book-I
Cartoon Book-II
Mario's Goa
Mario's Travels
Mario's Bombay

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Indian Architechture Through the Ages Introduction to Indian Architechture Architechtural Glossary Getting Around in India
About the Author About the Book About the

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As a student of architecture in the 70's, I had a dream of doing documentation on the lines of this book. The thought of travelling around each and every part of India seemed so challenging and romantic, and the task so worthy. I would astonish the world with the amazing diversity of the architecture of my country. On beginning an architectural practice, this dream did not seem at all feasible but on each personal discovery of an architectural marvel, I invariably felt a sense of guilt.

Then in 2000 on a visit to Tokyo for the East Wind Conference, I was gifted the Japanese version of this marvellous book. The English version did not exist and shockingly there were no plans to bring one out. I begged, cajoled and finally succeeded through a letter campaign where K.T. Ravindran, P. R. Mehta and Amita Baig wrote to TOTO (the Japanese publishers) on the importance of bringing out the book in India.

This book deals with the monuments of the subcontinent, but the discussion must begin at a lower plane. Vernacular Architecture is our starting point and is similar to the flora and fauna of a region. It springs from the ground like the wild flowers, perfect in its use of material, siting and taming of the weather. It also embodies the local lifestyle and its process of evolution is completely unconscious.

However, when it came to building the monuments of a place - the religious buildings, palaces, tombs and civil structures, the Master Builder stepped in. These buildings were large and meant to impress, often symbolizing a particular faith or way of life. Unlike Vernacular Architecture, materials and craftsmen could be brought from a distance and of course ideas could come from as far as man had travelled. But often enough the inspiration was local and from the vernacular. For example, the shape of a haystack could inspire the crest of a temple.

Leaf through the book and marvel at the variety on display. It does not appear to come from a single country or lineage, but it can be argued that India is a vast country with a startlingly diverse geography, consisting of the Himalayas, high altitude deserts, rain forests and other more common features (only by Indian standards). But this only partly explains the variety.

India (unlike China) has rarely been a centrally ruled country. Moreover she has many religions and cultures co-existing and competing. It is this plurality, which greatly contributes to the excellence and variety on display. But there is also the genius of the Indian Master Builder whose approach to design was different. Unlike the Western architect who approached the subject from a total conception and moved down to the details, the Indian temple designer moved from both ends, simultaneously. The details playing a major role, affected the final outcome in a most startling way, creating monuments of great beauty and uniqueness. One impetus must have been the greatest tradition of Rock Cut Architecture on this earth, which trained his mind to think in a completely different dimension.

Strangely enough the greatest flowering of Islamic Architecture is in India. Though their main thrust was Islamic, they evolved in a completely different way from their place of origin, as they were interwoven with local Hindu traditions of the time. I believe it is these qualities which lured Takeo Kamiya to return each year over a 20-year period to complete this great documentation. Motivation and consistency of this quality is rare and it pleases me immensely that the Indian Institute of Architects has decided to honour him. This book means a lot to me. To begin with it is a clarion call for all of us who have a stake in the preservation of our Architectural Heritage. These monuments are under great threat from the forces of "development" and commercialization and a complete absence of sensitivity. It is our duty to put into place sensible management plans for all these monuments.

Unfortunately, the forces of globalization have reduced architecture to a universal product. One cannot tell anymore where one is, by the buildings we see around us and there is sameness, which is creeping in. The variety in this book should be an inspiration for us architects to create more sympathetic and distinctive architecture. It would be a Modern Architecture no doubt; but one which reflects the spirit, climate and resources of a place.

I have a request to make to all the users of this book. It has been 26 years since the research of this book began and obviously aspects of the infrastructure of a place have changed. I'd really be grateful for feedback on this, so that the next edition can be corrected.

This English Edition would not have been possible without my collaborator and patroness of the Arts, Sangita Jindal. I must also thank Shri Jagmohan, Honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture and Ms. Rathi Vinay Jha and Mr. Amitabh Kant of the Ministry of Tourism. A special thanks to our amazing editor Annabel Lopez, who fortunately for me has supported all my quixotic projects.